Latifi explains cause of crash which led to restart controversy

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In the round-up: Nicholas Latifi says his turn 14 crash, which triggered a controversial conclusion to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was caused by dirt on his tyres.

In brief

Latifi crash was consequence of battle with Schumacher

Latifi caused a late-race Safety Car which ultimately affected the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and 2021 world drivers’ championship when he crashed his Williams into barriers at turn 14. The race was restarted with a single lap to go, after which Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton to win the race, and championship.

“It was a tough race out there today and we were struggling for pace throughout,” Latifi explained. “Towards the end of the grand prix I was racing with Mick Schumacher and was forced slightly wide, but fairly, at turn nine.

“My tyres got dirty from running off track and I subsequently made a small mistake and unfortunately crashed. This obviously wasn’t how I wanted to end our season, so it’s disappointing.”

Fittipaldi to stand in for Mazepin at Abu Dhabi test

After Nikita Mazepin tested positive for Covid-19 before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Haas have announced reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will run in his place during the post-season tyre test this Wednesday.

Fittipaldi drove two races for Haas at the end of last season, in place of the injured Romain Grosjean, including the 2020 race at Yas Marina.

‘FIA broke their own rules’, says Hamilton’s brother

Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Hamilton, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021
Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Hamilton, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021
Lewis Hamilton’s brother, British Touring Cars racer Nic Hamilton, savaged the FIA’s handling of the the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a social media post after the race. “The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport,” he said.

“Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamiltons were humble in defeat.”

He pointed out his brother and father congratulated Verstappen and his father in their moment of triumph. “People can say what they like, but my father’s gesture proves all of the doubters and haters wrong and shows who we are as ‘The Hamiltons’. Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis, with utter professionalism and decency in defeat, even though we all know, that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to.”

“Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him,” he added.

Giovinazzi suffers first 2021 retirement in final race for Alfa Romeo

Antonio Giovinazzi, who drove his final F1 race for Alfa Romeo yesterday, said “it’s a pity to end the season like this” following his first retirement of the season.

“We were having a good race, fighting a world champion like Vettel, but at least I could enjoy watching the final laps of this race. It’s been a great battle between Max and Lewis, both would have deserved the title.”

“It’s been an emotional day overall, seeing Kimi [Raikkonen] retire and seeing all the things the team did for us today,” Giovinazzi continued. “He’s a great person, very fair and all of F1 will miss him.

Giovinazzi will drive for Dragon-Penske in Formula E next year. “I hope this is just a ‘see you soon’,” he said. “My full focus is now on Formula E, but I hope to be back next year. I’m happy with my journey, the way I progressed over the years, I gave everything I could.”

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Comment of the day

After Mercedes committed to appealing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s result, Dr Mouse says it’s not the team’s actions that are driving the controversy.

To me, it isn’t the appeal which leaves a short taste, but the way the season ended. It was a farce.

Any team in this situation would appeal. The FIA broke their own rules, and in doing so decided the championship. Mercedes will lose millions from this, with sponsors often paying bonuses for winning races and the championship. If the situation was reversed, Horner would certainly be appealing it, as would any team principal.

I have no doubt the result will not be changed, but I still support this appeal and any further legal action Mercedes take. We need to shine a spotlight on this. We can’t have the officials breaking the regulations like this. If Mercedes just drop it, nothing will change.
@drmouse

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  • 115 comments on “Latifi explains cause of crash which led to restart controversy”

    1. The controversy obscures the real tragedy on this weekend: Abu dhabi will remain for the next 0 years as the season closer.

      1. *next ten years.
        (c’mon recafans – where is the edit/delete function?)

        1. They need more journos but not a better site… When I joined the site years ago it actually performed better than the competition, now it’s one of the worst. Especially the live threads, nigh unusable for their unresponsiveness.
          I’m sure the purse isn’t exactly overflowing, and fair play to the owner(s), it’s up to them at the end of the day. But it would be nice to see a little care taken for the user experience.

          1. Though I agree (have been a regular vistor for quite a while now), I’m afraid that the sheer amount of data (lap time charts, tables and so on) make it a hell of a project to transfer it to a new environment.

          2. It was really bad for me as well yesterday but to be expected with the extra interest generated by this race.
            I’m happy to pay double the fee if helps guys ;)

      2. I don’t mind so much now. The track flows so much better now without the clumsy chicanes. It made the racing a lot more pleasurable to watch and no doubt more enjoyable to drive. Still, I think Brazil is a better track to finish the season with but this was a big improvement on years gone by.

    2. Nice, thanks for the COTD.

      1. +1 a fair comment. The outcome is more than just the title. The advertising advantage for Hamilton as the all time record holder alone would be worth millions to brands and Mercedes. The safetycar closing the pack has always seemed unfair, but that’s part of the race. Sometimes it goes for you, others against. But not letting all the cars through is a joke, as is not following the officials protocol and switching decisions to let cars overtake. RedBull fans will say let it go and to some extent the moment has passed. It won’t be reversed now, but even if it was then the fans were robbed of the on track scenes and pit crew celebrations. It all feells so empty and a horrible way to end things. The fia knew what they were doing. Things fell into their hands to manufacture a joint points finale and again for a final lap overtake. Brazil was bad, Saudi was dreadful ( on both sides) and Abu Dhabi was a farce. The FIA have honestly lost all control over the last few races and I hope Mercedes take them to the cleaners for it. Apparently they are building a case with the lawyer who helped ManCity overturn their 3 year Champions league disqualification, a decision possibly worth billions. People will moan sour grapes but there’s millions on the line here and hundreds of people who’ve worked year round for this. For Sassy Masi to come along and think he can make up the rules as he pleases. He need sacking. F1 proved today it isn’t a sport.

        1. 100%. Zero confidence in Masi, and there’s no road back to authority and trust with him. He has to be sacked. Completely unjust selective application of the rules handed Verstappen the win on a silver plate. Even assuming that this isn’t some sort of blatant favoritism, the inconsistency of the application of the rules is unforgivable. He had one job, and utterly failed at it.

          1. Come on Masi is awesome, He is the first ever non-driver to win the driver championship! Ok I’ll let myself out…

        2. If incompetence had mass then Masi would have created a black hole today.

        3. It won’t be reversed now

          The problem is that anything short of overturning the result will legitimately mean that I can refer to Max as the 2021 F1 champion**

          **as determined my Masi

        4. In the end has it ever been fair. Schumacher and Ferrari were robbed by the rule change. Williams could have had many more championships without rule changes and same goes with Red Bull. Senna and Prost was decided behind the doors. It has almost always been with that show. We know FIA doesn’t like driver A and team AA to win constantly.
          Maybe somewhere in the future when Max has won his 10th championship everyone is complaining how this needs the end and FIA ends it.

          1. “The more you succeed the more hate and love you will get!”

          2. It’s one thing to change the rules before a season, or even during the season, completely different to make up a new rule on the spot at such a crucial point.

      2. @drmouse nice comment and similar thoughts to have I have been saying. I still remain disgusted because this is not how it should have ended. Even though I am obviously a Mercedes fan and want them to win all, this is not supposed to end in controversy. I wanted this to end today and then focus on 2022, but no. Masi just had to be tempted to play with the rules. I hope next season does not have more silliness like this season. This is one of the worst seasons, if not the worst I have ever seen in terms of stewarding/management since watching F1 deeply in 2007.

      3. Well deserved COTD. It was a manufactured farce for the cameras, not a fitting end to a great championship.

        1. @oweng
          While many parts of this season have been amazing, one thing which has shone through is inconsistent and often baffling stewarding and race direction. I know this has been the case for a long time, but it’s felt far worse this season. Therefore, as appalled as I am, I kinda feel this is actually a very fitting end to the season.

          1. Ha, fair point!

      4. Comment of the Year!

      5. Great comment, @drmouse.

        Was worried this would end as a tainted championship. And unsurprisingly, Masi and Liberty didn’t disappoint.

        F1: Farce One – a sport simulation series – without the sporting rules.

    3. Personally I really enjoyed Masi’s comment to Wolff. I’m sure Masi gets a lot of flak from team bosses that isn’t broadcast so it was good to hear him put Wolff in his place. I have no sympathy for Wolff, firstly as I’ve never liked him, and secondly his unnecessary lobbying earlier in the race for no safety car. It’s not up to him to decide what’s safe! I think Masi has handled things pretty well on the whole, and I think he made the right decision with the restart as well. People will say it made a mockery of the sport; in my view an unnecessary finish behind the safety car would have done the same. Likewise a restart with lapped cars in the way. The only thing they should have done differently was allow all lapped cars through, not just the ones separating Hamilton and Verstappen.

      1. Had they allowed all lapped runners through, it’s highly unlikely they would have got through before the end of the lap. Even if it was acceptable to ignore the rule that the safety car comes in at the end of the following lap, it would still have left the race ending under the safety car.

        Ending under the safety car would not have been ideal, but it would at least have been within the rules. This wasn’t.

        1. If there was any precedent for what happened then the outcry wouldn’t be so bad. But for this to be the first time they decide to do what they did doesn’t sit well. Feel massively deflated by an immense season, not how it should be.

          1. @millionus there was a precedent of this, the same situation of title decider in Brazil 2012. Vettel wins the championship while the race finished with a safety car. Alonso empty gaze has become an iconic scene immediately afterwards. It’s not that weird to end race with safety car.

            The race director have some choices:
            1. Finish with safety car
            2. Call the safety car in without letting anyone to unlap
            3. Call the safety car in and let everybody bar the ones in the lead lap to unlap

            Above choices would be fair regardless the situation of title fight. But what happened is not one of them.

            I’m a bit pleased myself that I no longer followed F1 fervently like I used to, so no anger management required this time around, lol.

            1. In 2012 the race finished behind the safety car. There is no precedent for allowing only some cars to get back on the lead lap.
              The FIA are now using semantics in English to make it look like the regulation doesn’t actually mean all of the cars to unlap themselves but as many as the FIA want.

            2. “..any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car”

              This is being made to look like some and not all.

            3. @andyfromsandy And this is so infuriatingly ridiculous.

              If I went in to a room and said “any of you who have children, raise your hand”, it’s clear and obvious that I mean all. Nobody would try to argue that it didn’t. “Any lapped car is required to pass” is just as clear.

              The fact they also used both “the regulation which tells us how to inform the cars that the SC is ending overrules the detailed procedures set out above” and “the race director can do whatever he wants with the safety car” is grasping at at straws.

        2. Not letting them all through left cars between max and sainz so sianz was disadvantaged as he could not go for second or even the win. This shows it was a daffy decision
          Disgraceful from masi and the fia.

      2. “Firstly I’ve never liked him.” And suddenly all of your ramblings make sense.

        1. I don’t like Wolff. Equally don’t like Horner. I think those 2 have brought the sport into disrepute. Nothing against Hamilton or anyone else. At least then my ramblings make sense, whereas I’m sure none of yours would, if I could remember any of them…

      3. So it’s OK to lobby for backmarkers to pass (once the decision has been made not to let them), but it’s wrong to lobby for no SC?

        1. Both lobbying is wrong in my view, but Masi’s response to the lobbying is always cringeworthy. “Uh, Uh, Christian, give me a minute….”. Masi always gives the impression that this is too much for him and he’s not coping. Just think what would Charlie Whiting have done. He’d slap them both down with the rule book.
          F1 fans generally love the sport because it is highly technical. 0.2mm is enough to give you a DQ. There is therefore no race director who 1. doesn’t seem to know the rules 2. doesn’t consider integrity of rules/technicality to be more important spectacle.

      4. “Personally I really enjoyed Masi’s comment to Wolff.”

        Did you enjoy Masi’s “its a motor race” comment when he didn’t allow the cars in front of Sainz to unlap themselves?

        1. I would have enjoyed it more if Masi said to Toto, “Toto, it’s……. MARIO KARTS!” Cue Mario theme music…

        2. In all, I think what Masi did was the best of a load of bad options. Don’t get why people are so outraged by it. It was a bit maverick, yes, but finishing unnecessarily behind the SC would also have been terrible, likewise having lapped cars in the way of the championship contenders. So yes, I did enjoy Wolff being put in his place. Likewise I would have enjoyed Horner being put in his place had it been the other way round.

    4. All other stuff aside… given the quite spectacular decline in rationality, manners and ability to type sensible things displayed by the average F1-discussing internet user in recent years, I hope Latifi doesn’t become a target for abuse.

      1. From reading some social media posts, that’s already begun. Very similair to Glock in 2008 unfortunately

        1. Rather Glock than… Piquet Jr!

      2. @neilosjames I hope so too, particularly as he actually seems like one of the nicest guys in F1.

      3. You really have a bone to pick, don’t you? Your comments for the last couple of days have been far from decent. You should take a look in the mirror before spouting such vile prejudice.

    5. With everything that’s going on, surely we can all agree one thing.

      You can change the camber of corners and circuit layout all you want but Yas Marina will always be a poor circuit and isn’t deserving of its spot as a season finale.

      1. @djarvis Agreed.

        It’s a horrid circuit which i don’t think has any positive features.

        Something that baffled me during the race was David Croft mentioning the new 10 year deal & then praising the changes for this year as ‘creating more overtaking than we used to see’ when it in fact felt like we saw significantly less close racing & overtaking was harder than past years.

        1. Wait.. we saw the best and most important overtaking of the year..
          so…

    6. The Hamiltons spoke humbly in defeat and also congratulated Verstappen and his father. This is well done.

      Even Christian Horner shook the hand of Lewis too.

      Sometimes people are humanly in grace.

      1. Indeed. it is only afterwards that media and the team seem to incite Hamilton to change his mind and become anything but graceful. Unfortunately this has happened many times this sesson most noticeably after the non story of interlagos. Apart from Silverstone where Lewis behaved in the worst possible manner, he is quite level headed.

      2. Yeah, those moments after the race, first with Max crying next to his rear wheel, then Lewis just sitting in his car getting a grip on things. Followed up by that embrace between Hamilton and his father. The handshake between Max and Lewis when the latter came to congratulate him at the first opportunity. And later seeing Anthony walk to Max and Jos and congratulating them as well as the words spoken by both about each other.

        All of that did help me feel better after the somewhat empy feeling during the last few minutes of the race @peartree, @bullmello.

      3. well except for Toto that is. he disappeared and refused to talk with anyone.
        The ultimate bad loser.

        1. Finally a subject that you are an expert on!

    7. Why we’re back markers only removed from the front of the Redbull car, why not other cars as well.
      The less spoken about this farce the better.
      Sponsors of this sport should feel insulted.
      They could have canceled the race and awarded Max the championship. Yet they chose to insult the viewers with such impunity.

      1. They should have just told the rest of the card to just park up and watch Max and Lewis drive. It’s basically what they did anyway. No one else matters, we just want to see these top 2 race.

    8. Cars obviously, not card..!

    9. Think of all the people that had bet on the race. They lose through clear manipulation of the rules and not a fair fight.

      1. Basically how 90% of gambling works…

      2. Those people should sue FIA for fraud!

        1. @bulgarian Indeed. I can imagine an angry mod outside the FIA HQ in Paris, something I already envisioned yesterday evening.

      3. I betted on Verstappen winning the title before the season started, with the useless Mercedes protests I don’t expect to be paid before February….

        1. Imagine betting on Sainz for the win in Abu Dhabi, only to be told your not important enough to have the cars in front of you get out of the way.

      4. Tbh, I could see the possibility of a match fixing criminal investigation. Not a high probability, but the result of the race was changed by the officials not following their own rules.

        1. I feel that it’s not so much that they’re not following their own rules, it’s that the rules give a lot of space for the race director to overrule whatever he thinks is necessary.

          1. That is only in their interpretation, and I suspect a third party arbitrator could well look at it very differently. Similarly, giving him so much power would be looked upon unfavourably by any investigation into match fixing, as unrestricted and unlimited power is wide open for abuse.

        2. @drmouse Same. Race fixing investigation is something I can also envision.

    10. more racing off track than on track. The outcome is right but the way it happened is beyond farcical. Jeddah had to be forgotten, it looked like race directikn went out of his way to make sure Ham would take the race to abu dhabi however I think Ham did not need the help. jeddah was forgotten but not in a good way. it started poorly as true to form one driver gets away with something the other does not then by the end of the race race direction breaks it’s own rule by stating lapped cars cannot overtake then overrules it by making a compromised situation. Honestly I think they were just trying to avoid having the championship decided via sc as Latifi’s crash could have saved Ham, in the end it was the opposite. As ever everything Masi did backfired massively.

    11. This was an odd scenario to say the least. While the finish was exhilarating, and I was quite pleased that one of the two contenders won the championship on the last lap of the last race, there is a hollow feeling to this all. It is a really unfair situation to put both drivers and teams in.

      Masi was probably “spoken to” by the powers that be at the end there to ensure that there was a blockbuster end to the race. I honestly doubt the race director has enough time or capacity to think about how one could manipulate or orchestrate the manner in which a race finishes, let alone its outcome. In recent years, F1 has become social media phenomenon as much as it is a sport, yesterday however, the former trumped the latter. What happened yesterday was manna from heaven for Netflix. I doubt anything was premeditated, but we should not forget that Liberty Media is, well, a media company, and their prime goal, is ratings….and boy did they pull a blockbuster together. Perhaps they saw an opportunity and, on the fly, a crafty producer made the most of it? Why else would Masi have changed his mind?

      Yes, these are all empty accusations by an armchair critic. However, there is no precedent for the decision made by Masi, except for he sole purpose of letting Max and Lewis have a go at another for one off racing lap. Is the Race Director responsible for the show? I’m confused, as I have been for most of this year.

      For those calling for Masi to be replaced, what good will that do? Perhaps the regulations and codes need to be thoroughly reviewed? Clarify the rules in the off season and least hope to be consistent? Or Perhaps the structure of the Race Directorship itself needs to be changed?

      Another thing that needs to stop is teams lobbying the Race Director mid race.

      1. I totally agree with your assessment of Masi’s replacement. If teh FIA fires him right now, whoever comes in charge would be getting into a dimished role who would be under even greater pressure from everyone involved. I guess that one of the things that really need to be reviewedis the broadcasting of FIA communications, those are putting an extra pressure on the race director who, to be honest, shouldn’t be expected to not just take decisions live on track, but to also deal with and reason with team principals while keeping the public image of FIA and not causing extra Issues. He is the race director, not a PR officer for THe FIA-FOM relationship.

      2. It is not enough to clarify the rules. IMO. To be able to cleverly state that one rule over-rides another or the word “any” means some on this occasion and not all requires a complete re-write of sections of the sporting regulations.

    12. Unfortunately I don’t believe Masi is going to be removed. His comment “it’s called a motor race” was the kind of patronising talk Netflix and liberty media will love as they sit back and let the clicks and tweets roll in. F1 is my love and passion, I really miss Charlie on days like this.

      1. The « it’s called a motor race » comment shows he is the right man for the job. After people calling it FIAMG throughout the season (meaningless penalty for Hamilton in Silverstone, changes to rear wing rules to slow down Red Bull, changes to pit stop rules to slow down Red Bull), I’m glad he showed Toto he is the man in charge.

        1. @paeschli. I guess Masi received a fanboost from people like yourself pitting out false information on Twitter like Trump supporters?
          I can also being up Max’s bully style driving that has received highly lenient penalties if we want to play that game, ten seconds for a brake test for example. Anyway you got your championship, the fanboost worked.

          1. Verstappen learned you need to be a bully to win at Silverstone this year.

        2. meaningless penalty for Hamilton in Silverstone, changes to rear wing rules to slow down Red Bull, changes to pit stop rules to slow down Red Bull

          There were also lenient penalties for Max in several races, and none at all in Brazil, while Mercedes suffered massively from changes to regulations which hurt low rake cars, plus DSQ for a broken rear wing when RBR were allowed to change theirs.

          Note I’m not trying to suggest a conspiracy, but looked at objectively neither were helped more or less by the officials. Passing the narrative that Max and RBR were somehow hard since by this season is both inaccurate and unhelpful. And neither make Masi throwing the rule book out of the window right.

        3. @paeschli not saying it in a bad way but you’re making a fool of yourself and sound like some people here that you really have nothing in common with.

      2. Amen @john-h Charlie would never have had part in such a farce, I still can’t believe they did that, an awful way to end such a season, a true demonstration of how they will happily chase “the show” over the sport

      3. @john-h
        There is no need to remove him. What makes you think Charlie would’ve made a different decision?
        At the start of the week former F1 driver Christian Danner, who used to sit right next to Charlie on a couple of occasions during the races in the last couple of years, thought that Charlie Whiting would’ve made similar calls to Masi’s during the Saudi Arabian GP.

        I don’t mind Masi’s “it’s called a motor race” comment at all. He’s obviously fed up with the teams being disrespectful to him. If you remember the conversation he had with Alpine’s sporting director Alan Permane after the battle between Kimi and Alonso during the US GP and Permane making sarcastic comments about the incident not being investigated, you can’t blame Masi giving the team managers or sporting directors a taste of their owm medicine.

        1. Firstly the race director should really be above this kind of comment, especially with such an important call @srga91. This isn’t X-Factor.
          Secondly Masi is continuously indecisive, and therefore open to suggestion seemingly from whichever team lobbies the loudest. I’m sure Charlie had his moments, however I’ve felt this way since Mugello 2020. Thirdly it’s starting to get dangerous. Brazil turn 4 not being referred to the stewards has already had consequences in Jeddah, and not nice ones. This will lead into 2022 and honestly I fear some terrible shunt next year. Making up regs as you go along is not what the race director should be doing, we need a calm head in charge who actually knows the sporting regulations and doesn’t openly admit that stewarding decisions will be inconsistent.

          Giving team managers ‘a taste of their own medicine’ is frankly not what the race director should be doing, he/she needs to be above this.

          1. @john-h
            I agree, the race director should be above this, but the same should apply to teams representatives. There should be consequences for comments like Permane’s in Austin, otherwise we will see them getting even more aggressive towards the race director in the future and that can’t be healthy for the sport at all. Michael Masi’s comment was born out of frustration for not getting the respect he deserves as the race director. It shouldn’t happen, but it’s understandable.

            I also agree on your point that he is a bit indecisive. He should be more firm and clear when communicating with the teams and also in his decisions. The T4 incident at Interlagos should’ve gone to the stewards. Not referring it to the stewards was a bad call, but then again we don’t know what their decision might’ve been.

            Despite his mistakes, I think Michael Masi is being judged unfairly after just his third season as race director. By the end of his life, Charlie Whiting had 30 years of experience and still made some questionable decisions.
            Let’s not forget that he was partly to blame for the 2005 US GP farce, banning Michelin’s wider front tyre towards the end of the 2003 season resulting in costing either Kimi or Montoya the championship (probably pressured by Ferrari) or ‘semi-banning’ blown diffusors just for the 2011 British GP, because the Cosworth-powered teams weren’t able to do it.

            I don’t share your concern over a potential nasty shunt in the future. I’m sure Michael Masi knows what he’s doing and if not, the FIA should step in and ask him to leave. If that was to happen, I have high doubts his replacement would do a much better job.

            1. Fair points @srga91, I think I pretty much agree with all of this. I do think however at the top form of Motorsport there should be better officiating. I know it wasn’t ideal when Masi had to step into the role unexpectedly, however three years is now long enough to learn the ropes and things have not improved over this period. I simply think his character is not fit for the job, he’s a nice guy for sure but that’s part of the problem.

              I’m not sure who else is out there, it’s not a job that many would probably want either if I’m honest! F1 does deserve better though, there are no more excuses for Masi. This is the top level of Motorsport, he needs to know the sporting regulations at the bare minimum.

            2. Oh and absolutely Whiting made some mistakes for sure, 30 years is a long time not to! Not only those ones but Suzuka 2014 of course. Those were learned from the hard way, unfortunately I remember after Mugello 2020 crash Masi instead went on the offensive accusing the drivers instead of questioning himself @srga91. I’d probably made up my own mind on Masi after that race, but nothing has changed it’s just got worse if anything.

            3. @srga91

              And to be fair to Masi, he did refer the T4 incident at Interlagos to the stewards (the incident was “noted”, which means it went to the stewards), and they decided not to investigate. He’s just the one that has to face the media to relay their decisions – which must be difficult given he has no influence over them (once an incident has been noted).

    13. This season went on way, way too long into December but here we are.

      Happy whatever you choose to celebrate, remember to support your local tracks and organisations.

      …and do log out also of all socials for a good while. It can only do you good.

      See you Racefans for the 60th running of the Rolex24 at the end of January.

      1. Probably good advice. I don’t expect objective takes on f1fanatic.co.uk

        1. Just be happy your man won @paeschli. Many on this site are trying to be as objective as we can. I’m sorry but you can’t blame people for not being overly keen on how this year was conducted from either side.

        2. I also want for a minute to think of how you would react if it was the other way around @paeschli and that happened to Max. Now you can tell us exactly how ‘objective’ you would be. It’s a horrible way to end the championship.

    14. It really is sad to see all the sore losers on this site and elsewhere.

      Yes, the ending was contrived to deliver a racing finish at whatever cost. And yes, in similar scenarios a trailing car with a free pit stop is going to have an advantage.

      But, that’s motor racing. The stakes were higher than usual, but the same thing can happen to anyone.

      No rules were broken. The rule that counts is that the race director’s authority is absolute. If he wants to do everything in his power to ensure there is a racing finish, then that is his right – and those of us who are, er, race fans should thank him for it.

      The people who wanted the race to end under yellow are not motor racing fans. They’re fans of a particular team and driver, which is fine. But they shouldn’t pretend this is about the integrity of the sport. It’s just about being hurt that something that was so close was snatched away from them. That’s understandable. But that’s motor racing.

      1. @red-andy I’m an F1 fan and have been for about 35 years. I’ve seen a few last race deciders where my preferred driver won, and when they lost. I know how it feels to lose out to bad luck like a burst tyre, or a bit of dodgy driving, or to win by a change of weather. But yesterday was none of that. I don’t mind admitting that I have a slight bias toward Lewis because I prefer his driving style, but ultimately this isn’t football and I’m not that partisan. In reality I am always happy for the most deserving driver to win. My pre race feeling was that after such an amazing season with two brilliant drivers, that if Max kept Lewis behind (fairly) then he fully deserves it. And if Lewis could beat Max (fairly) then he’d fully deserve it.

        What happened though was totally manufactured. Horner made a big deal about wanting consistency at the final race, and the race director overriding the rules to manufacture a 1 lap shoot out between a car with a massive pace advantage only because of the safety car is just not fair racing. I can’t imagine the fall out, the conspiracy claims that would have come from Red Bull if the roles were reversed. There is no way Masi would have done what he did at any other race of the season.

        Ending under yellow would have been a disappointing end, but it would have been a consistent and fair application of existing rules. How can teams strategise when at all times the Race Director has authority to just change the rules whenever he feels like it?! How can you say that’s motor racing?! I’ve spent years defending this sport I love to friends who don’t get it or don’t believe it’s anything more than the fastest car being driven round in a circle. How can I explain or defend what just happened?!

        I hope Mercedes do appeal this but I hope that the result is a massive overhaul of the rules and stewarding. And also the role of the Race Director. If he has ultimate power he should only be able to use it in emergency safety situations. Not to make a personal call on what he thinks would be better entertainment. I don’t want them to change the result of the race or drivers championship though, that would make even more of a farce of it. Max has been brilliant and it would be awful to strip him of it now. But things need to change.

        1. I agree with all you said above.
          If they were going to let lapped cars through then it should have been all lapped cars.
          To not let the other cars un-lap themselves compromises their race as well. After all they were racing for points as well are they not. What chance had they to improve placings when some of their competitors are now behind them after being allowed to un-lap themselves! Their race is effectively ended a lap earlier.

        2. @oweng Great comment. I support your hopes all the way.

      2. @red-andy Sore losers? Most people don’t have an issue (at least I don’t) with the outcome itself, but how this happened, which was through 3rd-party assistance & that 3rd-party happens to be the governing body.

      3. No rules were broken.

        Simply not true. The stewards admitted a rule was broken but over-ruled by a different one.

        1. Tell me, where did they stated such a thing?
          I guess you have to reread the stewards verdict.

    15. The controversy on CotD and “The FIA is a farce” depends 100% on who you support. Lewis fans will cry foul and Max fans will say justice.

      But for the first time I’ve read the FIA documents on both protests and the case is very clear and worded exactly to the rules. So, instead of big words on this site, read the FIA releases and think about it..

      1. @marcusaurelius It’s nothing to do with who you support as a driver. The power cannot sit with the race director to override existing rules unless it’s totally necessary for safety reasons. Especially when you’re not applying it consistantly down the grid. Lapped cars were cleared between P1 and P2 but not between P2 and P3. If you ignore the actual drivers in those positions how can anyone say that’s fair?

      2. I’ve read the relevant regulations, and the interpretation they use is incorrect to me on several points. I think this was a mad scramble by Masi, Red Bull and the stewards to find a way to use the rules to justify Masi’s actions.

    16. We need to take all the emotions out of this and judge the restart procedures without the whole championship situation in mind.
      Should the race have been restarted at all? Yes, because the track was already clear and there was no reason for Michael Masi not restarting the race, even if it was just for the final lap.
      Should the lapped cars have been allowed to pass? It’s very common for the race director to order the lapped cars to pass the SC. However, the way Michael Masi handled that situation (at first not allowing them to pass, then just the cars which were between Lewis and Max) was questionable. To me it seems like the guys from Liberty Media pushed him to get the lapped cars out of the way, to create a dramatic finish.

      Breaking news: Mercedes have agreed a special deal with Williams! Because of unforeseen issues, Mercedes will have to supply Latifi with their 2014-spec engine in 2022 ;)

      1. Serious question, would Mercedes or Daimler upper management consider leaving F1 over this? Next year even? I know thats far fetched and would be ridiculous but is it out of the question though… Or could they in effect protest by ceasing their engine supply deals which would put F1 in a tricky spot with only 7 teams able to run?

        1. On such short notice?! I hardly think so. They would have to find a buyer very soon, because all the teams have already effectively entered the 2022 championship.
          Considering they also have obligations to their customers McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams due to existing contracts, I doubt they could use their protest to cause problems in that area. I guess in the worst case, the remaining teams would be supplied by Renault and Ferrari.

          1. Ah okay, I feel at that point F1 would truly implode as Ferrari and Renault would struggle to supply and then only six or seven teams would be left to race. If I’m right this means they can’t race as there is a minimum as well as the issue of TV redbull rights being affected by this

            Btw, although I have used this site for over a decade I’m only properly using an account now so I have a question. How do you know you have received a reply to your comment as I never had any site notification to tell me that you had replied to me?

      2. “Should the race have been restarted at all? Yes”

        No, because the Safety Car should come in the lap AFTER the lapped cars have been let go. Thus, it should have finished under the SC.

        Masi being able to make up the rules on the spot doesn’t make this ok.

        1. He didn’t make up the rules, but rather took advantage of an exception:
          The race director is allowed to order the SC to return to the pits, at any moment, if it feels it’s necessary.

          1. *if HE feels it’s necessary

          2. That is a very liberal and twisted interpretation of the regs, and would basically grant the race director complete and unrestricted power over the safety car and several other things. He would be perfectly, legally entitled to put the safety car our with no incident, use it to bunch up the field, and then bring it back in while only warning a couple of teams. That interpretation cannot be allowed to stand because it leaves it wide open to abuse.

            1. @drmouse
              That’s definitely a concern. However, I don’t think the race director would neither go that far, nor could he get away with it, if a team would bring the matter to the International Court of Appeal (as Mercedes is likely to do).

              The FIA might think about removing that part from the regulations. To be honest, I don’t know the exact wording of that exception in the regulations. I just heard about it from Christian Menath from Motorsport-Magazin.com on their YouTube channel.

            2. @srga91 I don’t think he would either, but having that level of power available to change, create and ignore rules without restraint is not acceptable in a sport. I also don’t think that’s how that regulation should be interpreted anyway, but of that is the interpretation, it need changing.

            3. Noting liberal its in the rules you seem to adhere to.. ( if it fits your narrative)
              15.3

              Director shall have overriding authority in the following matters
              e) The use of the safety car.

      3. Would you be so emotionless now if the protocol of 48.12 had been followed?

        It is always the victor that calls out the loser for being sore in some way.

        Had the race finished as it did in Brazil 2012 no-one would of been surprised. This year there has been 3 red flag restarts due to debris on the track. It would of been fitting to of done the same here. It would not of set a precedent.

        To not follow the protocol of 48.2 is a precedent.

        1. To not follow the protocol of 48.12 is a precedent.

    17. COTD is 100% spot-on.

    18. Imagine if it would have been Tsunoda or Gasly. That would have been a mess.

    19. @john-h
      Yes, Masi doesn’t seem fit for the position. I think he was just an interim solutions, but the FIA has sticked with him as the race director, because he wasn’t involved in any major issues or controversies. This might change now after the last race. I too don’t have a clue, who they could bring in instead of Masi.

      Interseting point about Mugello 2020, I didn’t know about that. That doesn’t shed a good light on him.

    20. Maybe merc wanted to end the race on SC and this whole thing crash was planned but backfired? They could not afford max trying to take out Hamilton with a do or die lunge

      1. Hamilton had a substantial lead, and even on fresh tyres Max was not catching him anywhere near fast enough to challenge at the end. It would have been ridiculous for them to engineer the crash, just from the perspective that they would always lose out.

      2. Hogwash.

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